Message from the Chair of the Board
I have pleasure in presenting the Annual Report 2014–15 on behalf of the Board of CASA.
2014–15 has been shaped by a number of key events. The most important were the Government's response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR), in December 2014; our Minister's Statement of Expectations for CASA, issued in April 2015; and the progressive commencement of new Board members and a new Director of Aviation Safety over the year. These events have been successfully managed during a period when it remains widely acknowledged that Australia has an excellent high-capacity regular public transport safety record and an advanced, globally acclaimed, aviation regulatory system.
Aviation Safety Regulation Review
The ASRR reported that while CASA had sound safety governance arrangements to deliver its regulatory, investigative and service provision roles, there were opportunities for improvement in our aviation safety regulatory system. We accept that CASA needs to reflect the growing diversity of our aviation industry, and it needs to ensure that its philosophy, culture and organisation support the Government's agenda for the industry while also meeting new obligations as a government regulator.
In responding to the ASRR's report, the Government endorsed a number of key principles that will continue to underpin how CASA undertakes its role. These key principles include:
- the primary consideration of CASA and industry in undertaking their respective functions should be safety
- passenger transport operations should be the highest safety priority
- CASA's regulatory approach should be based on risk
- CASA and industry should work together to identify safety risks, and use the most appropriate methods and technologies to reduce the risks
- a ‘just culture' approach should ensure the appropriate sharing of information between CASA, other involved agencies, and industry
- fairness, transparency and consistency should be the basis of CASA's regulatory philosophy, policies and processes
- future regulatory priorities and the development of standards and regulations should be the result of active and ongoing engagement by CASA with industry
- without compromising safety, CASA should continue to look for ways to reduce regulatory costs to industry.
The ASRR clearly recognised that many of these principles are already in place and working, while others should receive more emphasis in guiding CASA's future direction. The principles also communicate the importance of industry developing an active safety partnership with CASA. CASA serves not only the industry but also the public more broadly, and while CASA has a key role in aviation safety, it is the industry, not CASA, that is principally responsible for the safety of those who participate in aviation.
The Minister's Statement of Expectations is a clear statement that the Government expects the CASA Board to take an active role in setting CASA's policies and direction, and to maintain a constructive engagement with industry in order to understand the challenging business environment in which it operates.
We are committed to those expectations, and our goals, strategies and initiatives to achieve the Government's requirements are articulated in the CASA Corporate Plan 2015–16 to 2018–19. The Corporate Plan, which has been approved by the Minister, also details how we will measure our performance.
During the year, the Board was expanded to seven members to enhance the aviation skills and experience on the Board. New members appointed to the Board were Jeff Boyd, who will take over as Chair from 1 July 2015, Ian Smith, Anita Taylor and Murray Warfield. Also joining the Board as an ex-officio member was Mark Skidmore as CASA's new Director of Aviation Safety. I will be standing down from the Board on 30 June 2015 along with Trevor Danos, who will have completed over five years as Chair of the Board Audit Committee. John McCormick completed his term as Director of Aviation Safety in August 2014 after five years at CASA's helm.
One of the rewards of being the Chair of CASA's Board is the honour and pleasure of serving and working with people who make a contribution to aviation safety every day. I am always impressed by the attitude displayed by CASA's staff, and it is my experience that CASA's people are committed and proud to serve in CASA. The Board wishes to reinforce that their work is important, and that they are valued and contributing to a larger mission that benefits all Australians.
I have no doubt that the new Board will continue to support and engage actively with CASA's people to foster and promote an organisation that strives to be the very best it can be.
CASA is one of the most respected aviation safety regulators in the world, but we are also evolving in a positive direction to deliver the Government's agenda and priorities for aviation safety and government regulation. As shown in this report, 2014–15 has been a year of hard work that has been marked by both the achievement of the majority of the targets set for 2014–15 and the recognition of the need to embrace the changes and emerging challenges that face us. In the environment that we operate in, our safety partnership with industry is fundamental to achieving Safe skies for all.
Allan Hawke AC Chair of the CASA Board